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Old Jan 5, 2013, 01:08 PM   #1
Thomas Veil
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Gerry Anderson, producer of "Space: 1999" and "UFO", passes away

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I always thought Mr. Anderson was an under-appreciated talent. Despite the fact that his early TV jobs were about as humbling as you can get, he tried to make the best of them.

Then came UFO, followed by Space: 1999. By a weird coincidence, I used a Christmas gift card I received to order a DVD set of Space: 1999 before I even knew of Mr. Anderson's demise.

Watching the show again -- and not unaware of the series' faults -- I'm enjoying just how good it could be at times. While the premise may be scientifically absurd, watching the show has confirmed for me that it has aged a whole lot better than the original Star Trek.

Don't get me wrong, I like Kirk & Spock. But the original Enterprise looks downright cheesy compared to the "2001"-inspired design of Moonbase Alpha. And I recall that when 1999 came out, the acting was almost universally panned as "wooden". However, since the 1990s, that understated type of acting has been very much in style.

I liked the fact, too, that on 1999 and UFO, not everything came out well in the end. I remember one episode of UFO where Cmdr. Straker had to divert a flight which could have saved his son's life, in order to foil an attack which would've cost the life of hundreds. Torn as he was, he did what he was militarily obligated to do -- and when his kid ended up dying, his wife walked out of his life forever.

Very real-life, and not at all what we were used to seeing on TV in the 1970s. I think that had something to do with why the shows only lasted a season or two. Anderson often didn't wrap up the story happily in 50 minutes plus commercials.

Anyway, thank you, Gerry, for all the hours of mind-bending entertainment.
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 01:38 PM   #2
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Wow, never realized that he played such a big part in my childhood. I still remember with great fondness my cast iron Dinky Toys Thunderbird 2 and the Interceptor from UFO. Wish I still had them. He had a great imagination and will be missed.
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 07:59 PM   #3
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It's been a long long time since I've seen a Space: 1999 episode. I have I've always liked the ship/station models.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 03:21 PM   #4
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I liked UFO but didn't care as much for Space: 1999 (although I watched it). I also liked how sometimes things didn't come out well in the end which is probably why I really liked another old sci-fi series called Blake's 7 .
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 03:44 PM   #5
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Oh man.. Space: 1999....... RIP Mr. Anderson....
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 09:34 PM   #6
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As a guy who makes Thunderbirds' puppets, for me Gerry Anderson's death was a bit like losing Steve Jobs.

At least he made it to a good age and didn't suffer with his Alzheimers for too long.


"Rest in peace, Gerry."
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 09:58 PM   #7
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RIP Gerry. Space 1999 and Thunderbirds are firmly planted in my childhood memories.

Thanks for that!

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Old Jan 7, 2013, 01:16 AM   #8
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So sad. The first season of Space 1999 is still creepy and unsettling to this day. The second season was kind of silly, but that was because the business people got involved. Still, it was tons of fun. UFO was cool too. Will miss him.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 07:07 AM   #9
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That 6 wheeled Rolls Royce is for ever in my memories.

RIP Gerry.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 11:51 AM   #10
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I loved watching Space:1999 when I was a kid.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 05:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joepunk View Post
It's been a long long time since I've seen a Space: 1999 episode. I have I've always liked the ship/station models.
Brian Johnson, one of the lead effects men on the show, salvaged that station from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I loved the first season when I was a kid. Episodes like Black Sun were really striving for science fiction at its best: big philosophical questions about human existence. And Barry Morse was a delight.

I stopped watching part-way into the second (and last) season; the series devolved into bad re-hashes of Lost in Space.

As for Anderson's earlier shows, I was weaned on Supermarionation: Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet. He was a unique showman.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 10:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jayducharme View Post
Brian Johnson, one of the lead effects men on the show, salvaged that station from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I loved the first season when I was a kid. Episodes like Black Sun were really striving for science fiction at its best: big philosophical questions about human existence. And Barry Morse was a delight.

I stopped watching part-way into the second (and last) season; the series devolved into bad re-hashes of Lost in Space.

As for Anderson's earlier shows, I was weaned on Supermarionation: Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet. He was a unique showman.
Season 1 was definitely the best.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 01:21 AM   #13
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Great shows

Those shows have a technological edge of about 6-10 years worth of production value and special effect improvements.

In fact Space 1999 was out around the same time as the first Star Wars, Yes I know it was made for TV and production values were not budgeted that high. But still.

Another decent series of course was the original BSG probably aired right after S1999. The special effects were about the same. I think the 80's really took of with movie quality FX trickling on to TV.

Star Trek though, even when it made the jump to the big screen almost always favored "sets" and props as opposed to say, shooting "outdoors"


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Originally Posted by Thomas Veil View Post
Link

I always thought Mr. Anderson was an under-appreciated talent. Despite the fact that his early TV jobs were about as humbling as you can get, he tried to make the best of them.

Then came UFO, followed by Space: 1999. By a weird coincidence, I used a Christmas gift card I received to order a DVD set of Space: 1999 before I even knew of Mr. Anderson's demise.

Watching the show again -- and not unaware of the series' faults -- I'm enjoying just how good it could be at times. While the premise may be scientifically absurd, watching the show has confirmed for me that it has aged a whole lot better than the original Star Trek.

Don't get me wrong, I like Kirk & Spock. But the original Enterprise looks downright cheesy compared to the "2001"-inspired design of Moonbase Alpha. And I recall that when 1999 came out, the acting was almost universally panned as "wooden". However, since the 1990s, that understated type of acting has been very much in style.

I liked the fact, too, that on 1999 and UFO, not everything came out well in the end. I remember one episode of UFO where Cmdr. Straker had to divert a flight which could have saved his son's life, in order to foil an attack which would've cost the life of hundreds. Torn as he was, he did what he was militarily obligated to do -- and when his kid ended up dying, his wife walked out of his life forever.

Very real-life, and not at all what we were used to seeing on TV in the 1970s. I think that had something to do with why the shows only lasted a season or two. Anderson often didn't wrap up the story happily in 50 minutes plus commercials.

Anyway, thank you, Gerry, for all the hours of mind-bending entertainment.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 04:44 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by leekohler View Post
So sad. The first season of Space 1999 is still creepy and unsettling to this day. The second season was kind of silly, but that was because the business people got involved. Still, it was tons of fun. UFO was cool too. Will miss him.
I can't remember the guy's name, but they brought in the guy who produced Star Trek's third season (after Gene Roddenberry walked away) to do 1999's second season. I guess they figured it needed "something", but I never liked it.

But the first season... Remember that tentacled monstrosity that pulled people into its maw and spit out their acid-burned corpses? That was grotesque, but boy was it memorable. What I liked was that it wasn't a "monster" story. It was about an astronaut who faced that horror and was the only survivor, and when he got back to Earth everyone believed he bungled the mission, killed the crew and made up the story to cover up. It wasn't until Moonbase Alpha approached the same area of space that he got a chance to prove that it was all true.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 09:06 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Thomas Veil View Post
I can't remember the guy's name, but they brought in the guy who produced Star Trek's third season (after Gene Roddenberry walked away) to do 1999's second season. I guess they figured it needed "something", but I never liked it.
That was Fred Freiberger. I thought he made a mess of Star Trek, producing some of that series' worst episodes. He was brought in to make S1999 more "popular". So they ended up with a shape-shifter and walking cabbages.

Barry Morse wrote a note to Anderson during the series' first season. Morse wanted Anderson to avoid falling into the sci-fi trap of focusing on technology and effects. "Drama," Morse said, "is about chaps." And indeed, the best episodes of S1999 are those that focus on characters and their inner conflicts.

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Remember that tentacled monstrosity that pulled people into its maw and spit out their acid-burned corpses?
Vividly. There was another episode where humanoid aliens disintegrated into bloody corpses on camera. Scenes like those were unlike anything on TV at the time. But as is so often the case, cutting-edge doesn't always mean popular.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Veil View Post
I can't remember the guy's name, but they brought in the guy who produced Star Trek's third season (after Gene Roddenberry walked away) to do 1999's second season. I guess they figured it needed "something", but I never liked it.

But the first season... Remember that tentacled monstrosity that pulled people into its maw and spit out their acid-burned corpses? That was grotesque, but boy was it memorable. What I liked was that it wasn't a "monster" story. It was about an astronaut who faced that horror and was the only survivor, and when he got back to Earth everyone believed he bungled the mission, killed the crew and made up the story to cover up. It wasn't until Moonbase Alpha approached the same area of space that he got a chance to prove that it was all true.
Oh yes- there were so many great episodes in the first season, some just downright terrifying. Good stuff.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:19 AM   #17
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 06:46 AM   #18
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Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons

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Originally Posted by Face Ache View Post
As a guy who makes Thunderbirds' puppets, for me Gerry Anderson's death was a bit like losing Steve Jobs.

At least he made it to a good age and didn't suffer with his Alzheimers for too long.

Image
"Rest in peace, Gerry."
And lets not forget Captain Scarlet. Angel squadron
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